Feeds

eBay pulls Vista laptop pwned in hacking contest

Do no harm

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

An eBay listing for the Windows Vista laptop that was successfully compromised at last week's Pwn2Own hacking contest was removed after the online auctioneer said it violated terms that forbid sales of items that might do harm.

Shane Macaulay, who felled the machine with code that attacked a weakness in Adobe Flash, posted the listing late Monday night, California time. Within two hours, he said in an interview, he received an automated email that said the auction had been suspended.

According to this article by IDG News, the listing read: "This laptop is a good case study for any forensics group/company/individual that wants to prove how cool they are, and a live example, not canned of what a typical incident response sitchiation [sic] would look like."

"At least on the eBay item, I was being a little sensationalistic, but I was just trying to get a sale," he told El Reg. He said he didn't mean to break contest rules that forbid the disclosure of the flaw or exploit code prior to there being a patch.

"By the time they would have gotten it (the laptop), I'm positively sure it would be patched," he said. "The reason i didn't say that outright (was) i wanted to ... see what the market would pay for" the unpatched vulnerability.

Macaulay was one of two attendees to take a prize during last week's contest at the CanSecWest conference in Vancouver. Charlie Miller and two two other researchers from Independent Security Evaluators, won $10,000 for a previously unknown Safari browser exploit that brought down a fully patched MacBook Pro. Macaulay, who was aided by researcher Alex Sotirov, won $5,000 for their exploit. Winners were also permitted to keep the machines. A third laptop running Ubuntu remained standing.

The cash prize is paid by 3Com's Tipping Point division, whose Zero Day Initiative pays bounties to researchers who responsibly disclose vulnerabilities. One condition imposed on sellers is that they provide no details of the vulnerability.

A spokeswoman for eBay told IDG the wording of Macaulay's listing led them to think the laptop could do someone harm. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
HP: NORKS' cyber spying efforts actually a credible cyberthreat
'Sophisticated' spies, DIY tech and a TROLL ARMY – report
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.